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March 29, 2007
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. As much as you would have preferred to be in another tournament, how glad are you to make it here?
FRANK YOUNG: It's been a lot of fun to play in this tournament and, you know, all of the emotions just built up as it went along. It was just a fun tournament to be in.
Of course, you know, we wanted to be in the NCAA Tournament, but to win this tournament, all of the joy is still there. We're still happy about finishing our season with a win. You know, we're just happy about all of the things we have accomplished this year and just proven a lot of people wrong this year?
Q. Did you get a little misty-eyed at the end?
FRANK YOUNG: A little bit. I'm happy we won but it's sad because you know your career is over.
Q. Frank, you had in the month of March, with the BIG EAST tournament, just tremendous numbers. What about these tournaments and this time of year made you able to lift your game the way you did?
FRANK YOUNG: I just know I really had to step my game up and really step in as a leader and know that any game could be my last possible game, so I just wanted to make sure I just left it all on the floor and did everything I could to try to help our team win.
Q. What kind of things did you learn from Frank this season, playing with him?
DA'SEAN BUTLER: As far as learning the offense, he's been like a great help. And forget everything else, he has taught me how to compete, but I came off the bench and contributed to the team, but as far as like Frank has just really got to me like, as far as, you know, competing and wanting to win games and wanting to come to practice every day and work hard. He just makes you want to compete and want to win. That's one thing I take from him, playing with him.
Q. Coach, would you talk about the fact that Frank picked up those first two fouls so quickly in that little stretch there; as well as he was shooting I'm sure that was a "point of concern"?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: I don't know who was madder. He was mad at himself and I was pretty mad at him. Really what we talked about -- and the mistakes we made tonight were the ones of being aggressive. And that's the way we wanted to play is they were going to press us. They were going to try to maybe slow us down a little bit and be very aggressive. They did a great job of it.
Our hope was that we could also, you know, the residual effect, get some open shots. So he sort of took that defensively. He had no business double-teaming, he had no business reaching, but he wants to win so bad and he wanted to lead this time. I'm not surprised that it happened.
Q. I asked Frank, I'll ask you, given that you wanted to be somewhere else the last couple of weeks, how gratifying it?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: This is terrific. Jerry John and I, my great assistant, we have some experience, we've been here before. Jerry got to this championship once and we were beaten. It's runs in college basketball. It's the intangibles. You make the NCAA Tournament, you get a ring; if there is not a run, if you cannot continue the season, it's very shallow at times.
You don't realize it for a while. You make a run like this, and Clemson has to feel the same way, they win those games and all of a sudden, there they are, and they are still playing. The lives of the teams that are home right now watching us play, it's a great signal for what we've been able to accomplish.
Q. You're constantly coaching, constantly teaching, were you telling them how to cut down the net, teaching them how to do that?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: That became an issue. (Laughter) Not that I have a lot of experience in that, but two times we did it in Richmond so I've seen it done before. We were taking awfully big swipes out of that baby and I don't blame them at all. But we were going to have this little, little net to hang up on our trophy so I tried to give us a little more space, and they responded. (Laughing).
Q. Can you talk about what kind of program it's going to be with Da'Sean coming up through the next four years now?
FRANK YOUNG: I think the program is definitely in good hands with Da'Sean and the other freshman. With Darris and Al taking over as the leaders of this team, it's definitely good heads with all of the experience they have learned this year and that they are going to bring in with the next couple of years as far as knowing how to practice, what to do day-in and day-out and how to compete in every game. I don't see why they can't have another successful year for the next few years.
Q. So you've left the program in good hands then?
FRANK YOUNG: Definitely.
Q. Frank averaged 13 points during the regular season and 20-plus, 25, something like that in the postseason starting in the biggest tournament. How did he turn up his game so much?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: He works his tail off, and guys get on a roll, we've seen it in the past, we've seen Pittsnogle on a roll, and it feeds off itself and the coaching staff and the players, this team loves him so much, it's hard not to make shots. You have everybody just saying, "You can do it, you're going to do it."
So that was as impressive a run -- I don't know what the final shooting percentage was, but I know he was 62 percent coming in here, but how about the rebounding? We made fun of him because of his vertical jumping and he was the best out there because he wanted it so much so badly.
Q. For the guys coming back, how valuable was it for the last three weeks and this experience tonight?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: I don't think our red shirts, it transcends to them about what just happened because they have been in the gym for one to three hours a lot of these days just working, you know, for the future.
But I think what our hope is that the young guys, and he's an eventual leader without question, he's been even as a freshman, he's like a young Frank Young. He just got to play as a freshman where Frank had to wait his turn.
There's no question that these guys right now are going to take this and we can't, you know, get too happy and we can't get ourselves in a situation to say, okay, we did this. When we get to next year, nothing, right, this doesn't mean anything for what was accomplished right now, other than to tell us that it works if you have great teamwork.
So I'm sure that if he takes over Frank's role and I know Darris will, that will -- it will feed itself.
Q. I know you're not one that's big on individual awards and stuff, but to hold up that MVP trophy at the end, was that one of the most gratifying moments for your career while you've been here?
FRANK YOUNG: It was gratifying because you see how far I've come as a player and just my personal contributions to the team over the last four years, from, you know, just seeing my averages increase as the years have gone along, just see how much I really improved over the years. You know, just to see how much I really took into leading this team and how much I really took on that pressure and just took that personally to try to lead the team. I think the trophy signifies that I did a pretty good job of leading this team and making sure I worked hard every day this year.
Q. You took a big chance of putting him back in, and he did it in about 30 seconds, made you look like a genius.
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: We normally don't do that. But the fact that we just -- with their pressure, he's smart, and just we had a lot of young kids out there. I just felt that we needed him, but we had to a stern talk before he went out on the floor, and on what conditions was he going to foul.
Certainly Oliver may have tried to drive it in a couple of times, and he almost tried to take a charge. We were trying to say, don't reach, just stay out of foul trouble in these next two minutes, but we have to give Da'Sean and Wellington a quick rest.
Like you said, when you shoot like that, no, coaches become much better coaches, and that's what that was about.
Q. ESPN tonight is proclaiming you their No. 1 choice for Michigan; have you talked about that to them?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Excuse me? I think this is about this game right now.
I know you have to do your job, I know you have to do your job right now, but let's just talk about this game. I think that's the issue tonight.
Q. What do you think of the future of this program, all of the freshmen and Darris is coming back next year, just what kind of expectations do you see next year?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Like I said, we haven't had a National Championship but we have had some pretty good years both in Richmond and some of the other fine schools that I coached at.
I think it's very, very important that our guys know that you can do this, but it didn't -- it just doesn't hand it to you. And because you have returning players means nothing. Because you have returning players, usually get a little tougher schedule.
I would hope that television would want us again. When you get television, you're going to get a tougher schedule.
So just a lot of hard work. And we had a very for fortuitous schedule this year. They worked hard to earn this year.
Q. Can you discuss Da'Sean's play off the bench, he's been fighting that intensity most of the season but that's his second 20-point game of the season.
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: You talking to me? Oh, I was looking at him. You know what was really odd, I don't think I ever had a team, that we had five guys score over 20 in a season. And to have the sixth man come and do that, he had a role on our team very much like my son, Patrick did, where we knew we could go to the bench and we would not lose scoring right away. We would not lose shooting right away, and he was -- you were pretty good tonight. (Laughter) You were pretty darned good.
There was a couple of shots that he took that were all net; that I was starting to shake my head when I saw them go in, it was, "Way to go Da'Sean."
Q. We talked yesterday about you playing on this -- in this arena on this level; would you talk about what it meant for you today to go out, have a good game, especially when you guys had to go young off the bench and to cut down the net tonight?
DA'SEAN BUTLER: It was a big deal especially the fact that I get to play in front of my family, my friends. But I really just wanted to win the game for Frank and Rob, for Frank and Rob and the rest of the team. This year we had floor practices and sprints and we bleed and we just play together and that would be a big thing for me is if we were going to win this game for them tonight and that's what we came out here to do.
Coach has been saying this for like the past week, but he had to use my --
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: They never heard of the song, "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother," and I actually physically demonstrated today, and we had our strength coach carry one of our players who was faking an injury to show him what it meant and he didn't even know what it was.
I think we understand it right now, what it is. I could see this family that was developing Da'Sean was one of the ones. In fact, they kid him that he's one of my sons.
Q. Is that a symbolic kind of thing with carrying the guy?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: You know what I'm talking about, right? The song from the '70s? Absolutely, there's a lot of symbolism in that.
Q. What is it?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Because that we were family that we would end up no matter -- if somebody was down or somebody was out, it didn't make a difference. It might hurt us more to run the court, to take a charge to, dive on the floor, but we were doing it for our family; we were doing it for our brothers.
Q. This is the first NIT title for West Virginia in 65 years; how will this be received in the community and how big is it for Morgantown?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: I know with our runs the last couple of years they have been marvelous and I can't say enough about the fans of West Virginia and how they have just embraced these kids and just done a terrific job.
I sensed that we will -- that there will be a time that we will have a very, very cheerful banquet and we will work our tails off. In the meantime, I know they are going to sign a few autographs between now and then, and they are going to sign a few basketballs and do some things.
But we also have missed a lot of class time, which they have to get back in their classes as well.
Q. You talked before the season, you were hesitant to use the word "rebuilding" with this team. That said, how surprised are you to be sitting here tonight?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Oh, I think I'll admit that I'm surprised now. I don't ever think long term as far as, okay, how many wins are we going to get or what type of season we're going to have.
But I did know, and Frank knows this very well, that last year when we would be scrimmaging against the Sweet 16 team, that they traditionally -- the Sweet 16 team would lose. And then we added, Da'Sean and Wellington and Bawinkel and all of a sudden, that didn't happen as much. But we felt that that team last year was just, you know, was going to get better.
But it was the BIG EAST. We didn't know it would be this certainly. We had no idea that it would be this successful.
Q. How often does the governor come to games?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: He actually comes -- I think he's been to the UCLA game. He's come quite often.
Q. Is he a good luck charm for you guys?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Oh, you know, any time, Joe Manchin is one terrific man, and any time that he comes -- I don't know if he's a good luck charm but it's just nice having him on our side for sure.
Q. You maintained the lead through much of the first half into the second and the last 49 seconds it went from a 16-point lead to an 11-0 run in Clemson's favor, can you talk about what happened?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: They were on a run and we threw the ball away a little bit -- we still had three time-outs left. I guess I should have called -- depending if Alex got in trouble, he would call one, but he didn't. I never worried at that point that we were in danger of losing the lead.
Q. Will you be looking at Georgetown and Rutgers?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: We played a lot of good teams this year and there was no question in my mind that the only game that we seemed to be never in -- right, guys -- was Georgetown. Never in it. And we played some good ones. They are terrific. I'm a big John Thompson fan. I come from a Jesuit education. This is one time I'll be part Hoya in this one because he's got just a fabulous team that really plays ball intelligently, and the team can play.
Q. Is it a statement for the BIG EAST?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: It's a terrific statement. It would be great if we could sweep them both.
Q. I know you're a big baseball fan; does it compare to your team winning the World Series?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: You know what, I wasn't there, because it got rained out, the game I went to and my brother got to go.
No, this is better than the Cardinals winning the World Series believe it or not, without question. I am so -- I'm just happy. And several of my family members were here and we had a lot of people coming from all over between New York State and lots of people from West Virginia did a lot of sacrifice to come here and I'm so happy for them as well. Thanks, everyone.
End of FastScripts